Cop killer suurenders www.privateofficer.com
TAMPA, Fla. July 3 2010 — A man wanted for in slayings of two Tampa police officers surrendered to police tonight, officials said.
Dontae Rashawn Morris turned himself in at around 10:30 p.m. He faces two counts of murder in the deaths of officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab during a routine traffic stop early Tuesday morning.
Curtis, a Mobile native, graduated from Mobile Christian School in 1997, and worked surveillance at the former Gayfers department store in Springdale Plaza.
“Honestly I can never remember a point in my life where I felt more relieved,” said Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor. Morris is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, she said.
Morris’ surrender came after an intense four-day manhunt in Tampa. Hundreds of officers in tactical gear combed apartment buildings, vacant homes and even in waterways to find Morris. Detectives fielded more than 400 tips in the case.
But in the end, Morris walked into a police station — officials would not say where — just hours after a wake for officers Curtis and Kocab drew hundreds of mourners. By 11 p.m., Morris was upstairs at Tampa Police headquarters as officials held a press conference. He was scheduled to be transferred to the county jail later in the evening.
It is not yet known whether Morris has retained a lawyer.
“Tonight, everyone in Tampa can sleep easier because Dontae Morris is off the streets,” said Mayor Pam Iorio, during a late-night news conference at police headquarters.
Around 2:15 a.m. Tuesday, Curtis pulled over a man and woman in a red Toyota Camry. He called for backup after seeing that the man — identified as Morris — was wanted in Jacksonville for writing a bad check.
Six minutes after Curtis and Kocab approached the passenger side, a witness called 911 to report they were shot. The officers were pronounced dead at a hospital.
The driver of the car, Cortnee Brantley, was charged Friday night with a federal count of witnessing a felony and not reporting it. She was being transported to the Hillsborough County Jail. It was unknown whether she had retained an attorney.
Earlier Friday, police officers, government officials, relatives and others crowded into a church to pay their respects to the two slain officers.
At the service, photographs of Curtis with his wife and four sons were shown on large screens. Kocab was pictured with his wife, who is nine months pregnant.
Friends, colleagues and members of the public took turns viewing the men’s flag draped caskets. The slain officers’ relatives sat nearby.
Funeral services for the two men — who were both 31 — are scheduled for Saturday.
“It’s just invaluable to the men and women of the Tampa Police Department to have this closure, to be able to go into the funeral tomorrow and give the tribute that officers Curtis and Kocab deserve for their sacrifice, knowing that Dontae Morris is behind bars,” the Tampa police chief said.